Tuesday 31 March 2020

NAI's free Genealogy Advisory Service switches to email

The National Archives of Ireland (NAI) in Dublin may have closed its doors to researchers during the COVID-19 outbreak, but that doesn't mean its free Genealogy Advisory Service has to down tools.

Under normal circumstances, the Genealogy Advisory Service, which is run on behalf of the Archives by an external panel of professional genealogists holding credentials from Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI), can be accessed by the personal visitors without charge or appointment during normal NAI hours.

With people advised to stay at home until the Reading Room reopens on 20 April, the NAI has arranged with AGI to provide an email service instead during the period of closure.

This new email service will start tomorrow, Wednesday 1 April, and will operate from 9:30am to 5pm (Irish time) on Mondays to Fridays until 17 April, excluding the long Easter holiday weekend, 9–13 April inclusive. Emails received outside those hours will be dealt with on the next day of service.

You'll find more details about this temporary service, and how to submit a query, on AGI's website, along with the email address you need to make contact.

Monday 30 March 2020

Free access to British History Online collection

The British History Online (BH)) collection has been opened up to free access until the end of July. See update below.

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/The BHO, created in 2003 by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, offers a digital collection of 1,280 key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, with a special focus on the period 1300 to 1800.

Under normal circumstances, some 1,000 of these sources are free for individual researchers to study while about 200 volumes – all transcribed – are accessible only with a subscription. The latter includes the Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, covering the period 1586-1606, in 13 volumes.

From today, all of the BHO content can be freely accessed. A detailed blogpost from the editorial team provides more information about the content now available.

(If you dive straight in to the search box, you might miss an important statement on the home page explaining that the "search within volume" box is currently not working properly. The BHO tech team is working on a fix.)

UPDATE, 4 June 2020
: The period of free access has been extended to the end of September.

Sunday 29 March 2020

Free access to MyHeritage's US census collection

To mark the 2020 Census (reference day, 1 April), MyHeritage has opened up its US census collection for free access.

In total, the collection holds 700 million records from 54 collections — 18 federal census collections and 36 state or country census collections. They date from 1790 to 1940.

To find out more about the collection and the value of census records, click the image, right.

Free access is now open at MyHeritage/research and will remain so until Sunday 12 April.

Update 5 April: End date was originally 5 April but MyHeritage decided to extend it so this blogpost has been amended.

Friday 27 March 2020

Three-week summary of new & updated US collections

Below is a summary of US family history collections that have been either newly released or updated by the major genealogy databases during the last three weeks. (The last summary list was published on 6 March, see blogpost).

My regular summaries are designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors emigrated, temporarily or permanently, to the United States. By default, they should also be useful to anyone carrying out research in the US, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.

The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in each new record set. Please note that I have omitted updates of fewer than 1,000 records to any one record-set.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parenthesis in the Updated Collections section reflect the number of records added to the collection in the recent update, if a number has been clearly noted by the supplier.




My Heritage


  • Massachusetts: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Records, 1789-1920. Additions from:
    * Immaculate Conception, Lawrence (5 volumes/32,100 records/107,900 names)
    * Sacred Heart, Brockton (3 volumes/2,900 records/11,200 names)
    * St Patrick, Brockton (6 volumes/23,700 records/93,200 names)
    * St Mary, Holliston (with St Patrick Lawrence: 8 vols/23,300 records/87,000 names)
    * St Patrick, Lawrence (see St Mary Holliston)



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Connections to Clonakilty and South West Cork?

If your ancestors lived, loved and worked in South West Cork, you'll be interested to know that the Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage community group has released copies of its Clonakilty Historical & Archaeological Journal online, free.

A note on the group's website explains that this action "is our small contribution to the public in these times when most people are confined indoors due to the COVID 19 virus restrictions." The idea is to help keep people occupied while at home and keep up morale.

The two volumes, published in 2015 and 2017, are available to download either as a complete volume or by individual article. See the link below (and share it with any friends from the region).

Download page: http://www.duchasclonakiltyheritage.com/index.php/journals.

Thursday 26 March 2020

Fold 3 marks Women's History Month with special offer

Fold 3, the specialist military database, is marking Women's History Month with a $30 saving on its one-year subscription. It reduces the price from US$79.95 to $49.95.

A Fold 3 subscription provides access to more than 550 million military records from around the world. While Fold 3's big sister, Ancestry, has indexes to many Fold 3 collections, you can view images of the records only on Fold 3.

The discount will expire at 11:59pm MT on Tuesday 31 March, and is not available for renewal of current subs.

Note that the discounted subscription will automatically renew at list price after the introductory offer; if you don't want to renew, you can simply cancel before the date comes round.

You can review the full terms and buy your subscription by clicking the Buy Now button above.

Online version of IHTA for Youghal now free to download

The Royal Irish Academy has released an online version of its Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) No.27 - Youghal. If you have ancestral connections to this County Cork town, you'll find it fascinating to read about its development over the centuries. 

 Written by David Kelly and Tadhg O'Keefe, the Youghal IHTA was originally published in 2015. It traces the growth and development of the town from its origins as an Anglo-Norman borough and seaport, to market town and then to seaside resort. Old maps and plans help trace the story of Youghal visually while an accompanying text includes an explanatory essay and historical gazetteer with over 1,500 entries on features of the townscape such as streets, schools, town walls, tanneries etc.

The free online version is available in a series of pdfs giving you the cover, general abbreviations, the 9-page essay, topographical information, a select bibliography, maps 1,2 and 3, a growth map (map 21 in the original) and the legend sheet to map 2.  Click the cover image, right, to view the download page.

(Due to copyright restrictions certain historical maps and images that are available in the printed atlases are not included in the digital edition.)

Youghal map, 1841

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Irish Registry of Deeds Index Project: latest news

The volunteer-led Registry of Deeds Index Project has had an update this week. There are now 345,327 index entries from 37,323 memorials of deeds in the main index.

Nick Reddan FIGRS, who manages the site, hopes that if researchers with Irish connections are under lockdown or self-isolating, they might donate some time to help the Index Project grow and, in the process, help other genealogists searching for details of their Irish ancestors hidden away in this deep resource.

The collection, held in Dublin, dates from 1708 and holds memorials of deeds and conveyances representing transfers of property across the island. These documents often contain valuable genealogical information such as names, occupations and addresses as well as relationships between individuals, maiden names of women, married names of sisters, and details of marriage settlements and beneficiaries and other particulars of wills.

"Volunteers can help improve access to these important records by either indexing memorials or transcribing Registry of Deeds Grantors and/or Townland Indexes," says Nick. "All the records from 1708 to 1929 are free to view online through FamilySearch.org and you can learn how to contribute using the many guides at https://irishdeedsindex.net/guides/index.php. Contact the webmaster if you need more guidance. Just start helping other researchers by contributing to this important project."

The output of the project is fully searchable and completely free to all researchers at https://irishdeedsindex.net/search/search.php.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Free access to c.300 US NARA collections via Ancestry

Ancestry's President and CEO, Margo Georgiadis, has made a statement today on the company's blog giving details of what actions Ancestry is taking in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. You can read her full post here.

Of most direct and immediate interest for more researchers is the opening up of nearly nearly 500 million records from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. These records span across nearly 300 different collections, and include ship passenger and crew lists, naturalization and citizenship records, immigration records, and key military collections such as WWI and WWII draft cards.

Digitised by Ancestry in partnership with NARA, these collections will temporarily be available to any researcher with a free registered account to Ancestry.com. Creating an account is easy; just enter your email to start your search.

Neither Ancestry nor NARA have yet produced a list of the collections included in the free access. However, I was able to find links to a good few (if not all) on the NARA site, here.

Some of the links take you to direct to the individual records set. But if you find one like this – http://search.ancestryinstitution.com/aird/search/db.aspx?dbid=2136 – remove the word 'institution' from the url in your browser and try again. It worked for me.

FindMyPast UK adjusts price of subscription packages

As advised on this blog last week, FindMyPast.co.uk has increased its subscription prices.

As you can see from the table below, the increases are small; most are around the £1 mark, and there's even one tiddly weeney price drop of 1p! The largest increase is £8 (the six-month Starter sub).

I understand the cost of subscriptions to the other FindMyPast territories (.ie, .com and .com.au) are under review but there's no confirmation yet on whether they will be increased, reduced or held.

(By the time the decisions are made, I hope to have worked out what on earth is wrong with my table code!)

Current New Current New Current New
1 Month £8.95 £9.99 £12.95 £12.99 £15.95 £16.99
3 Month £23.85 £24.99 £35.85 £35.99 £44.85 £46.99
6 Month £41.70 £49.99 £65.70 £67.99 £83.70 £85.99
12 Month £72.00 £79.99 £120.00 £119.99 £156 £159.99

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland suspends all services

PRONI, Titanic Quarter, Belfast
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has advised that current guidance on social distancing will leave the repository's staff unable to operate the behind-closed-doors service it had hoped to run during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since the main doors were closed to the public on 18 March, a skeleton staff has been responding to respond to written enquiries and operating the regular fee-paying search and ocpying service.

These services will no longer be available as no one is now working from the PRONI building.

PRONI's full range of digitised records, databases and other resources remain available online at www.nidirect.gov.uk/proni, and you can keep in touch with PRONI via Facebook.

New and updated British genealogy collections

Below is a summary of new and updated family history record collections for England, Scotland and Wales released by major genealogy databases in the last two weeks. (The previous listing was on 9 March, see blogpost).

This regular summary of releases relating to British collections is designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors migrated, temporarily or permanently, to England, Scotland or Wales. By default, it will also be useful to anyone carrying out research in those three nations, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.

The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in the new record set.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parenthesis in the Updated Collections section reflect the number of records added to the collection in the recent update. In some instances, the supplier has not made this figure available. Updates of fewer than 1,000 records have not been included.



British Newspaper Archive 


The Genealogist
  • Early Trade and Residential Directories 1816-1839 Includes volumes that cover areas of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Derby, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, Durham, Essex, Glasgow, Hampshire, London, Liverpool, Middlesex, Northumberland, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire and Suffolk.





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Friday 20 March 2020

County Kerry is finally represented on RootsIreland.ie

At last, some records from County Kerry have been uploaded to RootsIreland.ie!

Click/tap image to view the new list of Kerry records
The Irish Family History Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation that manages the RootsIreland database and the IFHF network of local heritage and genealogy centres, has announced the upload of almost 290,000 Roman Catholic records from County Kerry to the database.

They are fairly equally divided between baptism and marriage records, totalling 148,110 and 141,038 records respectively.

To view details of each parish and information about which registers are included, click the image right.

Or simply search the Kerry records here

Thursday 19 March 2020

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has closed

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) in Belfast closed its doors to the public yesterday evening in response to the COVID 19 outbreak. A statement on the website says:

'In light of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland will be closed to the public from 4.45 pm Wednesday 18 March until further notice.

'While able to do so, PRONI will continue to respond to written enquiries and operate its fee-paying search and copying service. A range of digitised records, databases and other resources are also available on PRONI's web pages.'

Tuesday 17 March 2020

St Patrick's Day discount from FindMyPast.ie

FindMyPast.ie has a special offer for St Patrick's Day: a full 40% saving on all its 12-month subscriptions.

The offer is available to new and returning customers but not those with a current subscription, and the discount can be used on any of the following packages:

Starter - All the crucial records for starting a family tree and tracing your roots back five generations. The Starter package also enables you to benefit from the research of other members by matching common ancestors to the names stored in your family tree

Plus – Billions of family records that will help you take your research further and tell a more detailed story. Search for your ancestors across all birth, marriage, death, census, work, education, military, travel and social history records

Pro – Explore everything FindMyPast has to offer. Pro covers access to all 13 billion UK, Irish and world records as well as Findmypast’s exclusive Irish, British & World newspaper archive spanning more three centuries.

Brand new releases are added to Findmypast’s growing archive each and every week, which also includes the largest online collection of historical Irish newspapers, birth, marriage and death records spanning more than five centuries of Irish history, exclusive workhouse collections, court documents, work and education records, directories, travel and migration records, social history resources and much more.

To take advantage of this offer, click/tap the image above right. The offer/discount code will already have been applied, and you'll be able to choose the subscription that best suits your needs. Make sure to complete your transaction before 11:59pm on Sunday 22 March, when the discount will expire.

You might also like to know that a 10% saving is available for the same period on a FindMyPast DNA kit, reducing the price to €79. Find out more here.

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: the Big Reveal for St Patrick's Day

As noted in the last IGPA update at the end of last month, the team at Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives has been busy working on a behind the scenes project. Now ready to launch, it is a major development for this popular volunteer-managed database. Here's the 'big reveal'...

An addition to St Patrick's graveyard, Kilnavart,
Ballyconnell, Co Offaly: a stone to John Donohue
Donohue of Deen who died in 1821. Photo courtesy IGPA.
More than 37,000 photos of headstones in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin, have been linked to text files holding the transcription of each memorial. Additionally, the Mount Jerome Cemetery collection can now be searched via a dedicated MJC Search Engine (follow the link below).

This is a huge step forward that will be much appreciated by researchers as it makes searching so very much easier and quicker.

In summary, here are the updates for the first half of March:

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Search Engine can search just Mount Jerome

CAVAN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Our Lady of Lourdes RC, Ballyconnell
St. Patrick's Graveyard, Kilnavart

OFFALY Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Killeagh, St. Patrick's Cemetery (partial)

Society of Genealogists in London is closed

The Society of Genealogists, based in London's Barbican area, has closed in response to the Covid 19 outbreak.  This decision will be reviewed on 27 March. You can see the full statement here.

As a consequence, the Saturday Library of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, which has been operating from SoG, will also be closed. However, hard-grafting and highly knowledgeable IGRS volunteer Rosalind McCutcheon FIGRS will be answering queries from home via e-mail only from 1:30pm to 5:30pm on Saturday – newsletter@irishancestors.ie – and IGRS Members can make use of the Society's online Forum to seek help or advice with their genealogical research.

Monday 16 March 2020

And another couple of Irish collections join Ancestry

Just over a week ago, Ancestry added four new Irish collections (see blogpost), and this seemed to be the early arrival of the St Patrick's Day gifts we have come to expect from this commercial supplier. But it turns out the Ancestry cataloguing system had gone a bit rogue or was simply slacking, because there were another two new collections intended for the package. They've now appeared in the catalogue and can now be searched. They are:

Ireland, Dog Licence Registrations, 1810-1926. This collection holds 7,358,408 records.

Encumbered Estate Court, 1850-1883 This collection holds 494,616 records of landlords who could no longer afford their mortgate payments during and after the Famine, and details of their impoverished tenants. See Irish Genealogy Toolkit for more information about this unusual collection.

Both collections have been exclusively on FindMyPast for the past several years. It's good to see them more widely available now.

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North of Ireland FHS closes Research Centre & Library

The following statement has been issued by the North of Ireland FHS as it closes its Library, cancels branch meetings and outings, and cancels most of its classes.


This is a terrible blow to a well-organised and busy, busy, busy society in the middle of its 40th anniversary celebrations.

Saturday 14 March 2020

RootsTech London 2020 postponed to Autumn 2021

The organisers of RootsTech London, which was due to take place in October this year and again in 2022, has been cancelled due to Covid-19.

The official notification to exhibitors and visitors who had already booked (and who are now being refunded) says: "The health and safety of all RootsTech London attendees, exhibitors, and speakers is our highest priority. FamilySearch and RootsTech seeks be good global citizens and do our part to contain the spreading of this contagious illness."

It adds: "We anticipate the conference to take place in the fall of 2021."

RootsTech Salt Lake City will be held in February 2021, as planned.

Friday 13 March 2020

Another Carlow newspaper joins BNA & FindMyPast

The British Newspaper Archive has begun digitising and indexing historical editions of the Carlow Sentinel.

So far, more than 2,600 editions are available to view. They all date from 1849 to 1892, but the planned holding will eventually span 1832 to 1920.

This newspaper joins The Carlow Post in the BNA's online archive, which is shared with sister company FindMyPast's Irish Newspaper Collection.

This addition brings there are now more than 180 historical Irish newspapers available to search in the BNA (and FindMyPast's) databases.

Two early Directories join Ancestry's Irish collection

Ancestry has added two early directories to its Ireland, City & Regional Directories, 1847–1947 collection (and has yet to amend the dates of coverage in this collection's title.

Sample from 1836 edition of Pettigrew and Oulton
Dublin Almanack and General Register of Ireland
The new directores are:

  • 1836 Pettigrew and Oulton Dublin Almanack and General Register of Ireland
  • 1838 Pettigrew and Oulton Dublin Almanack and General Register of Ireland
These volumes can be searched by name, occupation/trade, address and year, or browsed by individual volume.

Additionally, Ancestry has added additional indexes to live images, and the card catalogue says there are 12,249,395 records in the collection. Whether this figure includes the latest additions, I don't know, but it's a reminder that this is a huge collection and well worth searching, not just for individuals working in business or the professions but also for information about the country, its institutions and social organisation, as well as more local details such as when market fairs were held, mail coach timetables, and much more.

Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.

FindMyPast adds Waterford and Galway PLU records

While the gap between online launches of Irish genealogy collections may be stretching out, you can always rely on the lead up to St Patrick's Day bringing some new records for us to get stuck into! And this year is no exception.

Sample from St George Mansergh Estate in Co Galway
Today, FindMyPast has added Poor Law Union (PLU) records from Counties Waterford and Galway, and Estate Records from Co Galway.

Galway, St George Mansergh Estate Records: In the Headford area of the county (Cargin Parish), the St George Mansergh Estate was held by Richard St George. These estate records, digitised by Galway County Council, include maps of the estates and a list of tenants on the land. They span from 1775 to 1832. When viewing an image, use the left/right arrows to browse through the documents and learn more about the estate

Waterford Poor Law Union, Board of Guardians Minute Books : More than 163,000 records from the Dungarvan and Lismore Unions are now available for the first time online and join some 250,00 other PLU records for the county. In Irish poor law, the Board of Guardians operated the workhouses and administered poor relief. If your ancestor worked in a Waterford workhouse, was a supplier or an inmate, they could be mentioned in these records. You'll also find inmate marriage announcements, the names of orphaned children, and details of those who asked for help with emigration.

Galway Poor Law Union Records: These records, digitised by Galway County Council and now transcribed and indexed by FindMyPast, include Board of Guardians Minute Books and Poor Rate Collection lists dating from 1849 to 1921. They cover seven of the county's 10 PLUs: Ballinasloe, Clifden, Glenamaddy, Gort, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. Other types of records are included for specific Unions, like Medical registers for Portumna, and Indoor Relief registers for Tuam. Some 188,119 transcriptions are in this collection,

Galway County Burials: This collection of 3,485 records from burial plot books and registers of interment relate to burials in the area of Tuam between 1882 and 1920. They include transcripts and copies of the original documents.

Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.

Thursday 12 March 2020

Ireland closes schools, museums, libraries, cultural & tourist venues, and cancels large group gatherings

Speaking in Washington DC this morning, Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced measures to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak. These include the closure of all schools, colleges, and childcare facilities from tomorrow. Cultural institutions will also close. Indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people are also cancelled.

Below are some of the venues in the Republic of Ireland to have already confirmed their closures via Twitter or website statements. There will be hundreds more and I'm not going to attempt to keep up with them. If you had plans to visit museums, libraries, and OPW/cultural sites, or intended to attend a genealogy lecture or any other event, you should check directly with the venue/organiser before setting out.

The National Archives of Ireland: Will close on Friday 13 March until Monday 30 March at 10am.

RCSI Library and RCSI Heritage Collections will close at 6pm today. Reopening Monday 30 March.

RCPI Heritage Centre has closed and will remain so until Monday 30 March.

Cork Archives has closed until further notice.

Dublin City Library & Archive
, and all Dublin City Libraries close tonight until further notice.

County Clare Libraries: All events and group visits cancelled. Public computer services also cancelled, but wifi services available.

Representative Church Body Library & Archive: Still open but has put some measures in place to safeguard its staff and visitors. Researchers intending to visit should see HSE Guidelines. Updated: Closed to the public from 5pm today. Reopening 9:30am, Monday 30 March.

National Library of Ireland: All sites will close tonight until Sunday 29 March inclusive.

Military Archives: Still open but has cancelled its St Patrick's Festival events on Treasures at the Military Archives, scheduled for Friday 13th & Monday 16th March. Updated: Reading Room closed until Monday 30 March.

In Northern Ireland, there is no blanket ban or official advice about curtailling activities yet, although Arlene Foster, NI's First Minister, has said schools would be closed at some point. I'll update here if/when this changes. In the meantime, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland remains open. Belfast City Council (BCC) will be holding a Special Council meeting tomorrow, Friday 13 March, evening to discuss staffing, events and services. BCC advises the public to read Public Health Guidance guidance.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

National Archives of Ireland to reopen on Thursday

The National Archives of Ireland (NAI) has closed today at Noon and will remain closed until further notice.

An announcement was made about the closure on the NAI's website and twitter feed but no additional information about the reason for the sudden closure has been provided, so I can't tell you what lies behind this action.

If I find out, or get any idea of how long the closure is likely to last, I will advise here on IrishGenealogyNews.

UPDATE, 4pm: The NAI has advised that the Reading Room will open again tomorrow, Thursday 12 March at 10am. The official announcement says today's closure was due to a 'housekeeping matter'. I don't like to think too much about what such a phrase might be a euphermism for, so we'll leave it there.

UPDATE, 12 March: NAI, along with all public cultural sites and libraries, has closed due to converns over the Covid-19 outbreak.

Monday 9 March 2020

St Patrick's Day parades cancelled due to coronavirus

In a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, St Patrick's Day parades all over the Republic have been cancelled following a meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee on Coronavirus this morning.

https://www.chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2020/03/covid-19-public-offices-1.pdfAs recently as Friday, public health advice remained that there was no reason to cancel any proposed mass gatherings, including those parades and festivals relating to the nation's patron saint.

However, a statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team yesterday announced that two more cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed, bringing the current total of such cases in Ireland to 21.

Over the weekend, several towns and cities decided to cancel or postpone their local St Patrick's Day events. This morning Cork City followed suit. And then Dublin's huge Festival, which attracts thousands of tourists, met the same fate.

In Northern Ireland, while organisers of some processions have said their events will be shelved, other cancellations have yet to be announced. Belfast's City Council has said today that the city's St Patrick's Day celebrations will go ahead. Calls from medical experts appear to be getting louder, however.

Late in the day, Belfast City Council changed their minds with this official statement: Following the cancellation of a number of St Patrick’s Day celebrations across Ireland, Members of Belfast City Council have taken a precautionary decision to postpone its annual St Patrick’s Day parade and concert, given the fact that this is due to take place next week.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Daniel Baker said: “Our St Patrick’s Day celebrations are always hugely anticipated and a great day out for people right across the city, so it’s obviously very disappointing that this year’s event won’t go ahead as planned.

“The decision to postpone this year’s event has been taken as a precaution, given Members’ and the public’s concern around coronavirus.”

UPDATE 12 March: See latest blogpost following closure of public venues and bans of large group gatherings.

Ancestry.com opens up Irish collection for free

https://prf.hn/click/camref:1011l4pku/destination:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ancestry.com%2Fcs%2FstpatricksdayThanks to St Patrick and Irish-American Heritage Month, Ancestry.com has opened up its Irish collection to free access.

This means there are some 170 million records available to play with, and it won't cost a penny. In that total figure are 34 million records that have been added in the last 12-months alone.

You can view all the record-sets in the Irish Heritage Collection here.

You'll need a registered account to view the records. This is quick, easy and free to set up. Just follow the instructions when you start searching.

Free access to the record sets in the Irish Heritage Collection will expire at 11:59pm ET on Wednesday 18 March. You will then need a paid Ancestry World Explorer or All Access membership to view the records.

British genealogy resources: new & updated collections

Below is a summary of new and updated family history record collections for England, Scotland and Wales released by major genealogy databases in the last three weeks. (The previous listing was on 18 February, see blogpost).

This regular summary of releases relating to British collections is designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors migrated, temporarily or permanently, to England, Scotland or Wales. By default, it will also be useful to anyone carrying out research in those three nations, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.

The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in the new record set.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parenthesis in the Updated Collections section reflect the number of records added to the collection in the recent update. In some instances, the supplier has not made this figure available. Updates of fewer than 1,000 records have not been included.






Society of Genealogists (SoG Data Online)
  • Index to printed pedigrees heralds Visitations 1867
  • Wirral notes and queries volumes 1 & 2 
  • Hertfordshire Genealogist volume 2 
  • Durham South poll book 1832 
  • The Benevolent Medical College 1854
  • Surrey Rifle Volunteer Association 1861
  • Campton Monumental Inscriptions 1836 
  • Ward’s Newcastle-on-Tyne and adjacent villages 1890
  • Deaths in India, volume 1
  • Marriages in India, volume 1, part 1 men.



Family Search



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Irish genealogy, history & heritage events, 9-22 March


Due to coronavirus, some of the events below, especially those in the Republic of Ireland, may not go ahead because the venues have been closed, either voluntarily or by blanket bans from Government offices. I recommend all researchers check the status of the events below before they travel or set off to attend.

I've checked some of the events scheduled for the second week of this listing and found only two, both in the USA, are not yet officially cancelled. I'd be surprised if they go ahead. Cancellation of all public meetings seems to be the way things will be for a while, so my weekly Events listing won't be appearing for the foreseeable future.

Monday 9 March: A Quest for Saint Patrick – An exploration of the suggested birthplace of Ireland’s patron saint, with Michael McKernan. Host: Lecale & Downe Historical Society. Venue: Down County Museum, The Mall, English St, Downpatrick BT30 6AH. 7:30pm. Members free; Non-members £2. All welcome.

Monday 9 March: The Belfast Famine, with Jenny Cumming. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Newtownabbey branch. Venue: Drama Theatre, Glengormley High School, 134 Ballyclare Road, Newtownabbey, BT36 5HP. All welcome. Free. 7pm.

Monday 9 March: Green against Green: The Irish Civil War 1922-23, with Dr Kevin Bean. Host: The Irish Studies Group. Venue: The Nottingham Irish Centre Members Bar, 2 Wilford St., Nottingham, UK, NG2 1AA. 7:30pm. Details.

Monday 9 March: Irish research, with Ulster Historical Foundation. Host & venue: Staunton Public Library (2nd floor Meeting Room), 1 Churchville Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401, USA. Free. 9am–5pm. Details: E davidsonmk@ci.staunton.va.us. Fully booked.

Tuesday 10 March: The Border Reivers, with Dr David Hume. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Lisburn branch. Venue: Bridge Community Centre, 50 Railway Street, Lisburn, BT28 1XP. All welcome. 7:30pm.

Tuesday 10 March: Irish Calendar Customs, with Dr Marion McGarry. Host: Clare Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: Old Ground Hotel, O'Connell Street, Ennis, Co Clare. 8pm. All welcome. Members free; non-members €5. Enquiries to fogorman51@gmail.com or tel Mary at 0878362491.

Tuesday 10 March: Family memories of the 1914-1924 period, a special event featuring six presenters talking for about 10 minutes each on a topic which directly impacted their family. Host: Foxrock Local History Club. Venue: Foxrock Pastoral Centre, Foxrock, Dublin. 8pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 10 March: Fake News and the War of Independence, with Michael B Barry. Host: From Turmoil to Truce lecture series. Venue: National Library of Ireland, 7 Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 7pm. Free. No need to book. All welcome.

Tuesday 10 March: Genetic Landscape and History Revealed by the Irish DNA Atlas, with Dr Edmund Gilbert. Host: Genealogical Society of Ireland. Venue: Dún Laoghaire Further Education Institute, Cumberland Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8pm. €5. All welcome.

Wednesday 11 March: Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors. Host: Ulster Historical Foundation. Venue: Upstairs, The Irish Lion Restaurant & Pub, 212 West Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47404, USA. 12 noon to 7pm. Cost: $50 (General Admission); $45 (UHF Guild and Irish Lion Affiliates). Dinner options available. See full details and booking info.

Wednesday 11 March: Sarah Cecilia Harrison, Dublin's first female City Councillor, with Thomas A Burke. Host: Ballsbridge, Donnybrook & Sandymount Historical Society. Venue: Pembroke Library, Anglesea Road, Dublin 4. 1pm. Admission free. All welcome. Booking essential. T: 1 6689575; E: pembrokelibrary@dublincity.ie.

Thursday 12 March: A surprise! with Julian Walters. Host: Part of the Dunhill History Lecture Series XIV. Venue: Dunhill Multi-Education Centre (opposite the GAA grounds), Dunhill, Co Waterford. 8pm. Followed by a Q&A and light refreshments. Lecture postponed.

Friday 13 March: Irish ancestry workshop, with Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt. Hosts: Ulster Historical Foundation and Library of Virginia. Venue: Library of Virginia, 800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219, USA. 9:30am to 12:30pm. Cost: $25 General Admission or $20 Semper Virginia Society Members. Details and tickets.

Saturday 14 March Researching your Irish and Scots-Irish roots, with Ulster Historical Foundation. Venue: Kentucky History Center & Museum, 100 W Broadway Street, Frankfort, KY40601, USA. 8:30am to 4:30pm. Cost: $25 General Admission or $20 for KGS members. Lunch is $12 extra. Details. Sold Out.

Sunday 15 March: Irish and Scots-Irish genealogy research, with Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. Venue: Brookside Manor, 50 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville-Trevose, PA 19053, USA. 9:00am–4:30pm. Costs: $80 – $104. Includes all lectures, handouts, continental breakfast, Irish themed hot buffet luncheon and dessert bar, free parking, chance to win door prizes. Details and booking. Cancelled.

Monday 16 March: Family history advice, with Margaret Bonar and Betty Craven. Two sessions: Mornings (10:15-Noon) at Raheny Library, Howth Rd, Raheny, Dublin 5 / Afternoon sessions at Donaghmede Library, Donaghmede Shopping Centre, Dublin 13. Free. All welcome. Booking essential at T 087 6491605. Cancelled.

Monday 16 March: Tales of Islandmagee Mariners, with Hugh Burns. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Larne Branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112-120 Glenarm Road, Larne, BT40 1DZ. 7:30pm – 9:30pm. All welcome. Free. Cancelled.

Tuesday 17 March: St Patrick's Day. Everywhere. Public holiday across the island of Ireland.

Tuesday 17 March: Irish genealogy workshop, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Hosts: Heinz History Center and Westmoreland Historical Society. Venue: Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA15222, USA. Cost: $30 for History Center and WCHS members/$40 for non-members. 9am–4:30pm. Registration. Cancelled.

Wednesday 18 March Votes for Women - the Suffrage Movement in Ulster, with Dr Myrtle Hill. Host and venue: Ballymena Central Library, 5 Pat's Brae, Ballymena BT43 5AX. 11am to Noon. Free. All welcome. Booking advised, T 028 2563 3950. Cancelled.

Wednesday 18 March Researching Your Scots-Irish and Irish Ancestors, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Venue: Old St Andrew’s Parish Church, 2604 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC29414, USA. 10am-5pm. Cost: General Admission $25, plus $15 for a Tea Room Lunch). Details and booking.

Wednesday 18 March: The second reformation in nineteenth-century north Meath, with Marion Rogan. The Annual Séamus MacGabhann Lecture. Host: Meath Archaeological & Historical Society. Venue: Kells Old Courthouse Tourist Hub, Kells Rd, Navan, Co. Meath. 8pm. Cancelled.

Thursday 19 March Irish Genealogy Research Program, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: The Newberry. Venue: The Newberry Library, 60 W Walton Street, Chicago, IL60610, USA. 10am to 4pm. Free, but registration required. Postponed.

Friday 20 March Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Hosts: St. Charles County Historical Society and St. Charles Community College. Venue: Social Sciences Building Auditorium, St. Charles Community College, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Dr., Cottleville, MO 63376, USA. 8:45am–1pm. Cost: Members of SCCHS $25, SCC Student/Faculty/Staff $25, Non-members $30. Details. Cancelled.

Saturday 21 March: Local History Society Day 2020. Host: Dublin and Irish Local Studies. Venue: DCL&A, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 10am – 2:30pm. Four to five presentations will be hosted on the day. Free. All welcome. No booking required. Details. Cancelled due to closure of venue.

Saturday 21 March Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Arkansas Genealogical Society and Central Arkansas Library. Venue: Darragh Center, Main Library, 100 Rock Street, Little Rock, AR 72201, USA. 9am–3pm. Free. No registration required but space is limited to 100 places. Seats allocated on a first come, first served basis. Download details. Cancelled.

Sunday 22 March: Irish & Scots-Irish Ancestry Workshop, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Hosts: Jan Clizer - Painting Scotland & Jessica McKenziee: The Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center, 405 N William Street, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene ID83854, USA. 11:00am-6:00pm, includes 1hr early luncheon. Cost: $45,Fee includes: all lectures, handouts, Irish-themed lunch, tea and coffee service, free parking and door prizes. More information.

Saturday 7 March 2020

25% off annual subscriptions to RootsIreland

RootsIreland.ie is offering a 25% discount on 12-month subscriptions to its database. The saving can be taken up by both new and existing customers.

Discount expires 11:59pm Irish Time on 31 March
The RootsIreland database holds more than 23million records, including the most complete and accurate set of online Roman Catholic church records and the largest collections of Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist register records currently online. It also holds civil records covering more than half the counties of the island of Ireland.

So far this year, more than 30,000 new records from County Kilkenny have been added, and there are more than 300,000 more from across the island in the 2020 pipe. These records are transcribed by genealogists working in the Irish Family History Foundation's network of 34 local genealogy centres which cover the island. 

If you are a new customer, follow the link, select your currency. choose if you want a one-off sub or auto-renewal, and click the annual sub option. You can then register.

If you have a current sub, login, go to MyAccount/MySubscription/Start a New subscription. Complete the transaction and the special deal sub will begin when your existing sub expires.

The discount will expire on 31 March at 12 midnight Irish Time.

You can find details of the holding for each county here.

Friday 6 March 2020

Ancestry releases quartet of Irish-themed collections

UPDATE, 8 March: Since publishing this blogpost, originally headlined as Ancestry releases trio of Irish-themed collections, the database supplier added a fourth new Irish collection, the Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers. As such, the trio just became a quartet, and I have refreshed the post accordingly.

Ancestry has added a quartet of new collections of interest to Irish genealogists. None is making its online debut, but they are new to Ancestry. They are:

Belfast, Northern Ireland, Burial Indexes, 1869-2011. This is an Ancestry WEB collection, meaning that it provides a free index to a third party online site, in this case the Belfast City database of burials, where you can view the records free. You don't need a subscription to access this collection on Ancestry. Nor do you need to register. Just follow the link and search. The collection holds 356,475 records.

Ireland, Prison Registers, 1790-1924
Hugely popular since they first arrived online, the 3,127,594 records in the prison registers hold both genealogical information as well as plenty of colour to add to your family history.
Cover pages of David Dobson's original books
You can search by index or browse by county and prison. The collection covers only those prisons, bridewells, asylums etc in the counties now in the Republic of Ireland, but includes 'guests' from all areas of Ireland. You can find out more about this collection on my website, Irish-Genealogy-Toolkit.com.

Irish Emigrants in North America,1775-1825: The original data for this collection comes from a number of works of the same name by David Dobson (printed in 1998 by Genealogical Publishing of Baltimore, MD) in which records from a variety of sources provided details of name, date of birth, name of ship, occupation, reason for emigration, place and date of arrival in the New World, number in household and, sometimes, place of origin in Ireland. The collection can be searched by the index or browsed by original publications.

Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers.
This popular record set contains 23,437,916 entries. Most relate to fairly minor crimes such as trespass, and issues resulting from quarrels between neighbours, and drunkeness, but there are also some more serious crimes recorded. You can find out more about this collection on my website, Irish-Genealogy-Toolkit.com.

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